Photo/Illutration U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, fifth from left, reads a statement on behalf of 11 nations condemning North Korea following an emergency meeting of the Security Council in New York on Feb. 20. At sixth from left is Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Kimihiro Ishikane. (Hiroki Tohda)

A top Japanese government official blamed China and Russia for blocking a statement condemning North Korea’s ballistic missile launches from being issued at the U.N. Security Council.

“It is deeply regrettable that the Security Council has been unable to act against Pyongyang’s highly provocative behavior and repeated violations of U.N. resolutions because of the unwillingness of some members,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Feb. 21.

The comment followed an emergency meeting of the council held the previous day, where the statement failed to gain the support of all council members including China and Russia, Pyongyang’s closest allies.

“North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs pose a threat to the peace and security of Japan and the international community and are utterly unacceptable,” added the government’s top spokesman, “We will work closely with the United States and other member states and remain committed to ensuring that the Security Council can function and fulfill its role.”

After the meeting, 10 council members, including Japan and the United States, issued, along with South Korea, a separate statement condemning North Korea's ballistic missile tests on Feb. 18 and 20.